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Exchange program for travellers

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Dec 19, 2021
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This idea was inspired by this problem. Although it does not allow people to travel for free, it could potentially be a much cheaper alternative to conventional travel as well as allowing participants to experience travel in a brand new way.
Basically, it gives two individuals, or perhaps even two families, the opportunity to travel somewhere with no accommodation costs. In exchange, they provide the same opportunity for another family. The concept is simple enough, the idea is focused more on the company that would liaison such exchanges as a service.
Obviously, there would be some major security concerns, but both parties enter an official agreement, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
The company would allow you to indicate where you would like to go, casting a wider net would obviously increase your chances of finding a match, then they would look for someone that matches your requirements that also wants to visit your country and you would simply do a switch.
Alternatively, people with extra room in their houses might offer free accommodation, in exchange for receiving the same when they decide to travel.
I've searched for programs like these, but all I've been able to find has been educational programs or immersion programs like Lingoo where the client is hosted by a family, but nothing that simply provides you with a place to stay free of charge.
Not only would this provide participants with free accommodation but it is also likely to be more comfortable than hotels or backpackers, it will probably also allow participants to experience their destinations from the perspective of a local, rather than the overcommercialized tourist hotspots that one would normally travel to. It could be a great way to really experience the culture and perhaps even make friends with the person or family you are switching with.
I even thought that people might allow their vehicles to be used, which would cut down another major expense, but there might be some insurance issues with that idea and it would be difficult to keep fair, as one person might travel far while the other stays in a relatively small area.
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Already existing platforms

Povilas S
Povilas S Dec 21, 2021
Home exchange is a famous platform offering such services. A platform charges 150$ a year for the use of its services. You can either exchange homes simultaneously and for free or you can use an inside "money" - points you receive by hosting others to pay someone to host you. That's perhaps the most popular platform for this purpose, but there are also many others.
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General comments

jnikola3 years ago
Did you check Couchsurfing? I used it three times and it's great. You stay for free at some local guy/girl, maybe cook them dinner or something like this. It's a fun and secure way since everybody leaves feedback, so you can check the comments on your future buddy. I am sure the option of long-term stay could be easily implemented or arranged the same way.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw3 years ago
Juranium No I haven't seen it, it looks like a great service though! It pretty much does exactly what I imagined as an alternative to my main idea.
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie3 years ago
I like this idea! I believe security concerns aside, many of us would love to exchange places with someone on the other side of the globe at a decently cheap price. I would imagine this platform would be similar to Airbnb, where ranking points can be used to dictate the popularity of the user and their accomodation. If users are willing, they can sign up to be tour guides that host their guest and vice versa.
As what you previously mentioned, I do think that security concerns would be the limiting factor of this idea. If anyone can simply sign up, who is to say the location you are travelling to isn't dangerous, or that the other party doesn't have ill intent? One way would be to implement a strict verification process, eg sending photos of their identifaction card etc. Reviews and rank points are definitely going to play a role in this too. Nonetheless, it might be difficult for new users to gain the trust of other users and the platform itself. More brainstorming might be required in order to combat these security concerns!:)
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jnikola3 years ago
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie On the Couchsurfing platform, you just check the ratings of the users and can read the comments on their previous stays. Yes, I had some trouble finding accommodation while using it for the first time, but a detailed description in the profile section and a connection to your Facebook account are usually enough for people to decide to accept you as a guest (and vice versa). :)
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